Massachusetts law about gambling and casinos

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on gambling and casinos law.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

St.2016, c.219, ss. 135 and 137. Legalizing and regulating Daily Fantasy Sports.

MGL c.10, ss.37-40 Beano, Raffles, Compulsive Gambling

MGL c.23K. Massachusetts Gaming Commission
Permits up to 3 casinos and 1 slots-only casino in the state. Has several provisions particular to Indian tribes.

MGL c.137 Gaming

MGL c.271 Crimes Against Public Policy

Massachusetts Laws and Regulations for Raffles and Other Gaming Activity
Mass. Attorney General's list of specific laws and regulations, including those pertaining to public charities and charitable organizations holding raffles or bazaars. Does not include MGL c.23K .

Massachusetts regulations

205 CMR Mass. Gaming Commission

940 CMR 12 Regulations governing raffles

940 CMR 13 Regulations governing bazaars

940 CMR 30 Illegal lotteries, sweepstakes and de facto gambling establishments

940 CMR 34 Daily fantasy sports contest operators in Massachusetts  

961 CMR Mass. Lottery Commission

Federal laws

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, 31 USC s.5361-5366. This law prohibits companies from accepting money for internet gambling, if the gambling is illegal under existing federal or state laws. It doesn't address gambling directly, but rather the transfer of funds from credit cards and bank accounts to online casinos.

25 USC 2701 et seq. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Sets the terms for how tribes are allowed to operate casinos and bingo parlors, as well as enabling off-reservation land for casinos. Defines the 3 classes of gaming.

15 USC 1171-1173 Johnson Act. Regulates gambling devices

Federal regulations

25 CFR 290 Tribal Revenue Allocation Plans

25 CFR 291 Class III Gaming Procedures. Used when a state and an Indian tribe are unable to voluntarily agree to a compact and "the State has asserted its immunity from suit brought by an Indian tribe under 25 U.S.C. 2710(d)(7)(B)."

25 CFR 292 Gaming on Trust Lands Acquired After October 17, 1988. Effective June 19, 2008. "Articulates standards that the BIA will follow in interpreting the various exceptions to the gaming prohibitions contained in section 2719 of IGRA."

Selected case law

Buzulis v. Mohegan Sun Casino, 69 Mass.App.Ct. 708 (2007)
Gaming Disputes. Court of the Mohegan Tribe had exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over the action.

Connecticut National Bank of Hartford v. Richard Kommit, 31 Mass.App.Ct. 348 (1991). An often-cited case that discusses the collection of a credit card debt for a cash advance by a Massachusetts resident to be used for gambling in Atlantic City, under a credit card contract generally governed by Connecticut law.

In re: Daily Fantasy Sports Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, In re: DraftKings, Inc., Fantasy Sports Litigation, In re: FanDuel, Inc., Fantasy Sports Litigation, 158 F.Supp.3d 1375 (2016)
80 actions or potential tag-along actions, pending in multiple districts, involving allegations of improper or illegal conduct by the operators of 2 online daily fantasy sports contests. Centralization was warranted, and District of Massachusetts was appropriate transferee district.

Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, 572 U.S. __, 134 S. Ct. 2024 (2014)
Tribal sovereign immunity.

Murphy v. NCAA, __ U.S. __ (May 14, 2018)
The Federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which bars states from permitting gambling on sports, is an unconstitutional infringement on states' rights. 

United States - Measures Affecting the Cross-Border Supply of Gambling and Betting Services, World Trade Organization, Report of the Appellate Body, AB-2005-1, April 2005. This is a complicated decision involving U.S. regulation of international gambling, particularly in Antigua and Barbuda. In part, it effectively allows specific states (Louisiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota, and Utah) to prohibit gambling.


Bureau of Indian Affairs
Responsible for recognizing tribes and tribal land, revenue allocation, and more

Department of Justice Office of Tribal Justice 
OTJ is the primary point of contact for the Department of Justice's government to government relationship with Indian tribes.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission 
"The mission of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is to create a fair, open and transparent process for implementing the expanded gaming law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in November, 2011."

National Indian Gaming Commission 
Has primary responsibility to oversee Indian gaming

Office of Problem Gambling Services, Mass. Dept. of Public Health

Web sources

Attorney General's FAQs about Nonprofit Gaming Events
An informative FAQ for charities and nonprofits interested in conducting a gaming event

Attorney General's Guidance on Raffles, Mass. Attorney General 
Provides information from obtaining the permit to activities after the raffle

Guide to Taxes: Gambling and Lottery Winnings, Mass. Department of Revenue
Explains how to report gambling and lottery winnings

Interior Department deals blow to Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Cape Cod Times, September 8, 2018
The "U.S Department of the Interior... issued a finding that it could not keep 321 acres of land taken into trust for the tribe..., casting an ominous shadow on the Cape tribe’s future and its proposed $1 billion casino in Taunton." Includes a link to the DOI decision.

NIGC Bulletin 05-1 Use of Net Gaming Revenues Bulletin, National Indian Gaming Commission
Bulletin was written "to encourage tribes to employ policies and procedures in their expenditure of tribal gaming revenues that comply with IGRA and will minimize complaints and misunderstanding among the tribal membership and interested outside parties."

The Tip of the Iceberg: Daily Fantasy Sports a Harbinger of Future Regulatory Challenges, 60 Boston Bar Journal 29, Spring 2016

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006: Overview, FDIC
Provides detailed summary of the law. "This document provides an overview of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006... and sets forth procedures for reviewing compliance by financial institutions."

US Dept. of Interior Rejects Compact Between Mass. and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, October 12, 2012

Print sources

Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law, by Felix S. Cohen. LexisNexis, with supplement.

Criminal Law, Mass Practice v. 32 with supplement; Chapter 23, Gaming.

Deal or No Deal (Audio CD) Transacting in Native America, American Bar Association, 2008.

Gaming Law in a Nutshell, by Walter T. Champion, Jr. and I. Nelson Rose. West, 2012.

Massachusetts Proof of Cases, West, with supplement. Chapter 51, Gaming offenses

Summary of Basic Law, Mass. Practice v.14A , West, annual. Chapter 7, Gaming offenses (ss. 7.274-7.278)

The Supreme Court and Tribal Gaming: California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, by Ralph A. Rossum. University Press of Kansas, c2011.



Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only


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Last updated: January 24, 2019